Chris Lilley is a super-gifted actor, writer, director etc. We Can Be Heroes was jaw-droppingly rich and imaginative. We'd never really seen such fresh and bizarre characters on our screens before. Lilley gave us characters who were compelling because they were riddled with narcissism (except good old Pat Mullins) and a real lack of empathy for others. Summer Heights High followed in much the same manner - more narcissistic people, more drama. It was a roaring success. I liked it less than WCBH. Perhaps the school teacher in me (seventeen years full time and counting) was jarred too much by Jonah.
With these two arresting series, Lilley seemed to be telling us Australia was full of losers, but losers we should care for, or, at least pity. I think. Was he also saying Australians needed to stop and reassess themselves? Was he saying Australians were in trouble? Was he just, to echo Ricky Gervais, "havin' a laugh"? Who will know.
His new thing, Angry Boys (backed by HBO), which I was eagerly awaiting, is waring. I so wanted to be hooked in by it. I'm bored by the many references to penises and testicles and scatology and bestiality. I wish S.Mouse would just shut up. Gran doesn't do much for me. I don't care about meeting the faux-gay Asian skateboarder. I'm sure there are scores of thirteen year old boys out there guffawing and wheezing at the humour in the show; I've barely laughed. Maybe, I'm showing the fact I'm thirty-nine years of age. I'm not sure whether I'll watch the entire series. I feel I should, oddly, so as to be part of the zeitgeist. What will I get out of lasting the distance?
I guess Lilley wants to polarise, wants to be a dissociative, wants us to cringe and moan. To what end, I ask. What can we learn from his chameleon's dish?
LJ, May 27 2011.